Essay: Rewilding Christian Spirituality: Outdoor Sacraments and the Life of the World, by Lisa E. Dahill

Lisa Dahill contributed this essay to the collection she co-edited with Jim B. Martin-Schramm, Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016; pp. 177-196). In it, she addresses the problem of “the disconnection between much of contemporary human life from the living reality of the natural world.” In an early paragraph, she describes the goal of her essay:

This essay is my response to . . . the cries from all over Earth of those already suffering the effects of climate change and global economic injustice, and the great call echoing from the planetary systems necessary for the flourishing of life as we know it. How does Christian spirituality creatively cherish and respond to the new “Eaarth” we inhabit, the new geological age we have entered? Here I outline a Christian spirituality of biocentric sacramental reimmersion into reality: “rewilding” Christian spiritual practice for the Anthropocene. To summarize at the outset: I believe that Christian ecological conversion requires new and re-prioritized physical, spiritual, and intellectual immersion in the natural world. Thus I will argue for restoration of the early church’s practice of baptizing in local waters, for new forms of outdoor Eucharistic life, and for reclaiming primary attention to the Book of Nature alongside our attention to the Book of Scripture.

Note: Lisa’s use of the term “Eaarth” is based on Bill McKibben’s book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2011).

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